I became interested in reading Weekends at Bellevue a few years ago when I heard an interview with Julie Holland on NPR. At the time, the interview made it seem like it focused on Bellevue itself. Now that I've read it, I see that it's a much more of a reflection on the effects of working at Bellevue. The fact that it's written by a psychiatrist as well as including an account of a course of therapy, it reminded me a little of Every Day Gets a Little Closer: A Twice Told Therapy.
Over and over again, Dr. Holland described trying to find a balance between being hard and soft, between suspecting her patients of fishing for meds and her patients being in desperate need of help. I couldn't help but think of the teacher/student relationship as she outlined the doctor/patient relationship. I try to treat my students with respect, patience, compassion and support, but sometimes they lie to me. Sometimes they steal from me. Sometimes they say cruel things about me. Over time. I've learned not to take it personally, but it's always a struggle. Where do I draw the line? When do I listen to the suspicious little voice in my head, and when do I give a student the benefit of the doubt?
In Weekends at Bellevue, Dr. Holland writes about the parts of her personality and events in her past that prompt her to act the way she does with her patients. I loved reading her reflections and following how her time at Bellevue changed her. It made me think a lot about what's going on in my head, too, when I respond to students in a way that's not the most supportive.